Kea (Greece)

The Municipality of Kea, also known as Tzia, is an island municipality with 2,417 inhabitants. It is located in the western part of the Aegean Sea and forms part of the Cyclades island chain. Covering a total area of 148,926 km², it consists of two islands, Kea and Makronisos. Only Kea is inhabited, whilst Makronisos is considered a historical monument of the Greek civil war era, as it was used as a prison island. Kea has a number of features - including the Agios Nikolaos harbour, which is one of the biggest natural harbours in Europe - that make it a popular tourist destination for sailing, scuba diving, and hiking. The southeastern part of the island is also included in the European Network of Natural Protected Areas, NATURA 2000.

Kea is connected to the mainland via ferries, with services operating daily. However, its corresponding port on the mainland is located in Lavrio, which is a considerable distance from the Athens metropolitan area. Due to this, Kea is considered to be isolated, despite it actually being the closest Cycladic island to Athens.

Typical Cycladic street planning, with its narrow elevated streets and many flights of stairs, greatly restricts car and bike use in the islands settlements. Often, motorcycles are the only form of transport that can access certain parts of those settlements.

Ioulida, Kea’s capital, has a traditional centre that is completely car-free. The settlements are connected to each other via a road network, the main part of which are two ring roads of 35 km each, meeting at Ioulida. Collective transport is carried out by three private buses.

Kea, being a top destination for hiking tourism, offers a well-preserved network of hiking trails. Part of this is an ancient road network that in the 6th and 7th centuries B.C. connected the island’s city states. Five walking routes also cross the village of Ioulida, offering access to houses and retail, boosting the local economy in a sustainable way.

Kea will begin elaborating its first SUMP at the beginning of 2018. Some of the key areas that the SUMP will focus on are:

  • walking and cycling;
  • on-demand public transport;
  • road safety;
  • parking and congestion problems during the tourist season;
  • the mobility of older people and those who do not own a car.

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